navy
I believe that I was 16 going on 17 when I went into the Navy. I had signed up for electronics school since I was building transmitters and receivers at that time, I wound up chipping paint on L.S.T. 1170 , U.S.S. Windham county based out of Yokuska Japan . lst stands for landing ship tank or long slow target . the ship was roughly 900 ft. long and 90 ft. wide the lower deck was 60 ft tall . there were large doors and a 60 ft ramp in the bow that opened up for loading and unloading tanks etc. the ramp would lower to drive the vehicles onto the Viet Nam beach. we would drop anchor ½ mile out( or there about) and then go full speed forward and run up onto the beach and the battle would begin . the enemy did not like us bringing tanks etc. . I saw a MIG jet come towards the side of the ship at a very low height and at the same time bullets were bouncing off the ship. at 17 I saw what a big gun can do to a person , I had a friend , a marine named Tom whose arm was ripped off. That was over 50 years ago and I still can not unsee that event . war is ugly. some people like to show off the ak 47 but I know that it can not be used for hunting. not accurate and tears up whatever it hits but it looks impressive . for manly wannabes We went up the Saigon river and did go to Saigon. I learned how to get drunk in Japan we went through a typhoon which disabled our communications and ripped our hull open in 5 spots. this ship is build with a double hull that had big tanks that would be filled with water to give ballast while traveling and would be emptied to run up on the beach . the ship could float in 4 ft. of water. the rips in the hull flooded the “bilge”tanks” most of the time on the ship I was chipping paint and painting the ship. I really enjoyed painting the side in a bosons chair swinging around while watching the dolphins and flying fish that followed the ship , or maybe they were leading the ship either way it was great watching them . I was not a great seaman , this was a rough group of men and I was a boy who wrote poetry and simply did not fit , I received an honorable discharge for medical reasons. I had refused to shoot women and Children, you know ethics that do not work in war. In Japan I made a friend ,Sachio Konagya, (not certain of the spelling) she taught me much of the culture. this was a great friend , not romantic it was a sharing of culture.